Serving Ohio’s Mediators and those in need of Mediation services


January / February 2010

By January 1, 2010Newsletter

Ohio Mediation Association

A Bi-Monthly Publication
January/February 2010

President: Maara Fink (419) 530-4236
Immediate Past President: Jay Patterson (614) 403-3825 E-mail:
Vice President:  Phil Dunfee (740) 366-3297 E-mail:
Treasurer:  Sheri Center (614) 783-7281 E-mail:
Secretary:  Gina Weisshaar (614) 893-2881 E-mail:


Mark your Calendars for our exciting meetings!! (Usually the first Friday of the even numbered months except our conference or April meeting since it is at a facility for conferences the Friday of Ohio’s Conflict Management Week in May.)

Feb. 5, 2010 Techniques for Empowering Youth in Mediation.  Marge Gaffin, BS Psychology and MSW from OSU, LISW-S, ACSW, BCD with specialized training in obsessive-compulsive disorder will be speaking on drawing out children and teens so that they can and will participate fully in mediation.

May 7, 2010 ANNUAL CONFERENCE—note different date than first Friday of even numbered months—Conflict Management Week finale.  To be held at the Riffe Center in downtown Columbus.  Details coming soon!

June 4, 2010 TBA
Aug. 7, 2010  TBA
Oct. 2, 2010 TBA
Dec. 4, 2010 TBA

Speaker Suggestion??
Ed Krauss is now planning our programs so if you have any ideas of what you would like to hear about or a speaker you would like to suggest, please let him know at

Mediate Ohio Material:  Please send material for Mediate Ohio by the 20th of the even numbered months to permit publication in the newsletter.  The next deadline is February 20, 2010.  My address is 2897 Liberty Bell Lane, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068 Phone/fax:  (614) 863-4775 E-mail: Thanks, Shirley Cochran, Editor

President’s Column
Maara Fink

Well, it’s officially 2010. Hard to believe that another year and decade has come and gone. Like so many others, I find the start of a new year to be the perfect time to take inventory of the areas, both personal and professional, which could use a bit of attention and/or improvement.  Some are easy to identify (unfortunately, not as easy to achieve) like better organizational systems, decision-making (just say “no”) and time management (also, just say “no”).  The more challenging tasks come to me as I lie awake making “to do” lists in my head.

During the final days of 2009 and first days of 2010, I was engaged in a series of conversations that led me to focus more intensively on the current state of OMA and the field in general.  What I realized, to my great disappointment, is that we are not where I was hoping we would be as we ushered in this new decade.  Don’t get me wrong, we have made strides (the Uniform Mediation Act; the marketing campaign of 2008) and effected some significant changes (the most recent language modifications to proposed HB 306 )along the way; but nowhere near where I had hoped the field would be when I entered it well-over (I know, really well-over but who is counting…) a decade ago. At that time mediation was still gaining momentum and legitimacy as an alternative method of dispute resolution.  While these days we find that most have dropped the designation as an “alternative” process, I do believe we are still struggling to establish mediation as a legitimate profession.  We have seen hundreds of mediators join our ranks only to leave disheartened and disillusioned with the field and its ability to provide a living-wage to its members.  A decade ago, I knew dozens of mediators here in Toledo who were making a decent living as full-time mediators.  Most of those individuals have gone back to the professions they previously abandoned.

I also have very real concerns about the complete lack of regulation within the field.  We have all heard “horror” stories of mediators and mediations gone-awry (like the one I heard the other day about a mediator who called one of the parties a crook and liar – in a most neutral way, I’m sure).  Yet, there is still not much that can be done to prevent incompetent mediators engaging in the practice of mediation.  I strongly believe that in order to ensure quality of the process and enhance the legitimacy of our profession that we must explore our options for regulation (mark your calendars to join us for our OMA Annual Conference in May for an exciting panel discussion on what regulation in the field might look like).

I am steadfast in my belief in the power of mediation and the vast potential for growth in the field.   However, this will not happen if we maintain the status quo.  It is imperative that we work together to forge a sustainable future for the field.  And it will take work! This will not happen without collective action.   I encourage those of you who have stayed on the sidelines to get in the game! We have a way to go and my guess is we won’t achieve all that we hope to in 2010 – but it can’t hurt for each of us to add this work to our “to do” list for the year.  You never know what together we might achieve!


The Mediation Council of Greater Cincinnati, which has been in existence since the mid-1980’s, is a networking organization of mediators who live or practice in the greater Cincinnati area. The group meets at lunch time on the second Friday of every other month from September – May to learn about matters of interest and share information. Members as well as non-members are welcome to attend the meetings; annual membership fees are $15.00.  The meeting time is 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.; the meeting location is the Hyde Park Hyde Park Branch of the Hamilton County Public Library, 2747 Erie Avenue.  Attendees may bring lunch to the meetings.

The schedule of meeting topics is below. With the exception of the September meeting, the schedule of presenters and topics may be subject to change. Join the Mediation Council for regular meeting reminders with updated information.  If you have questions or need information, contact Chris Baker at 513-639-9132.

January 15, 2010: Marie Bader and Cathie Kuhl will present one or more mediation cases and lead us through an analysis and discussion of the cases.

March 12, 2010:  Diann Harper and Betsy Sato will discuss the work of the Housing Mediation Service.

May 14, 2010:  The group meets for its annual luncheon gathering at a restaurant to be named later.

Truancy Prevention Through Mediation in Marion, Ohio
Joey Sink-Oiler Contract Mediator 740-802-0748
Truancy prevention through mediation has worked well in Marion, Ohio for the past five school years.  It was piloted with help from Family Court. According to documentation from Marion County Family and Children First Council, from 2002-2006 the number of diversion hearings conducted by Family Court/Juvenile Court primarily due to truancy grew by approximately a 200% increase. “ The Family and Children First Council wanted to focus on what was missing from the mix of services and programs that would lead to a reduction of high-risk youth coming to the attention of Family Court/Juvenile Court in the first place.”

According to documentation from MCFCFC, “Las Angeles County research from the Office of Education identifies truancy as the most powerful predicator of delinquency and crime increase (such as shop lifting).” Additionally the report from MCFCFC goes on to state “this research supports that children that are truant are at-risk of academic failure, delinquency, victimization, experimentation of substance use and sexual activity.” This led to the collaboration of several service providers in the community working together to assure the success of the mediations. A typical mediation may consist of any combination of the following: parents, student, teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, and/or other necessary support persons. According to Kelly Garrett of United Way the number of children referred to Family Court for Truancy and the number of Diversion cases fell by at least 40% after the inception of the program.

During the first three years, it was operated by a grant from the Ohio Department of Youth Services. Funding was small and the program started in one elementary and one middle school based on findings that most high school dropout students had attended one of these two schools. The fourth year of the program was funded by reclaim dollars through Family Court and 600 mediations were completed in both Marion City and Marion County school districts. For the 2009-2010 school year, due to a funding decrease, the number of mediations dropped to 425. Both Family Court and. Marion City Schools are funding the program this school year. The program requires two positions, a coordinator and a mediator. Joey Sink-Oiler, who has been with the program for the past five school years, currently holds both positions.

The Art of Disagreement
Dale Eilerman, M.Ed., PCC-S
Conflict Solutions Ohio, LLC

Most of us would likely say that we do not care to be around disagreeable people.  This choice of behavior is typically discouraged in organizations as being disruptive and unsettling.  It can generate negative emotional reactions and a sense that the disagreeable person is being uncooperative and is not “on board”.  However the act of disagreeing is essential to identify problems, provide contrary perspectives, consider alternatives and make changes.  What we need to recognize is that there is a skill and “art” in offering a disagreement that plays an important part in the success in taking this position.  It is not what is said, but how it is said.

Michael A. Roberto speaks to the importance of disagreement in his book entitled Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer (Wharton School Publishing, 2005).  Roberto describes organizational cultures in which the prevailing norm is to have yes-people who outwardly agree with leadership and do not question decisions in open meetings.  Differing opinions and beliefs are instead taken underground resulting in a hidden erosion of support and lost opportunities for considering viable alternatives.  In some cases this type of culture has resulted in serious negative outcomes that could have been avoided if those in disagreement had felt like they could speak up and be heard without consequence.

Cultivating an environment that supports constructive disagreement requires encouragement of frank discussions, challenging questions and debate.  This milieu results in decisions that are well thought out and earn the confidence and support of those who need to implement them.

What are some of the traits and techniques that contribute to the art of disagreement?
• Demonstrate an attitude of inclusion
• Use data and decision making procedures
• Beware of emotional responses
• Seek first to understand, then to be understood
• Agree to disagree

Demonstrate an Attitude of Inclusion

Disagreement will begin to be valued when leaders demonstrate an attitude of inclusion.  Openness to and active solicitation of differing ideas, perspectives, feelings, and beliefs generates greater breadth of thinking than a closed and conservative approach to decision making which tends to shut out diversity.  The attitude of inclusion stimulates expression of disagreements and a collaborative discovery of solutions.  This approach will increase the likelihood that optimal choices will be made.

Respect for disagreement encourages risk taking, creative thinking and consideration of alternatives that otherwise would not be put on the table.  Leaders who challenge their associates to brain storm, critique, and think outside the box will maximize the potential that exists within the group.  Appreciation shown for effort, and not just for the chosen decision, will further encourage people to take the risk of offering ideas and positions that might not otherwise be put out for consideration.

Use Data and Decision Making Procedures

It is helpful to have decision making procedures that facilitate the presentation of differing options while also maintaining an orderly process for reaching conclusions.  Brainstorming, nominal group technique and multi-voting are methods that can be used to generate ideas and focus on preferred choices.  If there is no structure to facilitate the decision making process the participants will experience frustration from “wheel spinning” and be less open to considering differing ideas.

Disagreements must merit the time and attention required for contemplation.  Simply arguing for a personal agenda is not adequate.  Those who want their perspective to be considered need to demonstrate its value with data or other supportive evidence and use the decision making process that is in place.  Use of an organized presentation with handouts, charts, or other visual aids can be very effective in demonstrating a perspective that needs to win the approval of others.  It may be helpful to pass alternatives through “filters” to assure that they meet the criteria required for consideration prior to presenting them.  Disagreements that are obviously well thought out and rationally presented within organizational guidelines will be given more respectful consideration than those which are spontaneous and “off the cuff”.

When working to resolve disagreements determine if the differences are centered on the central goal or on the process for achieving the desired outcome.  There will often be more receptivity to variations in process and procedures that to wholesale changes in the objective.  Do proposals meet the identified goals and requirements?  If yes, then disagreement may be in the area of process; how to reach the goal rather than the goal itself.  Recognizing and communicating this distinction can keep the process moving along constructively.

Beware of Emotional Responses

Disagreements can cause emotional reactions that disrupt the objective assessment of an option being considered.  Presentations that are overly dramatic may not be effective – the content can be lost in the expression.  The idea will be judged on the listener’s affective reactions and not on merit.

However presentations without any emotion may be as ineffective as those with excessive emotion.  Ideas communicated with feeling create energy.  Emotions that are tempered and expressed for emphasis and effect can be a powerful enhancement in communicating the intensity of belief and conviction.

When presenting a different perspective it is important not to alienate others in the group.  Separate the person from the problem.  Statements that are confrontational, blaming and critical are usually not well received and can be harmful.  Indicating a desire to collectively solve the problem at hand will be more effective than forming factions.

Being prepared and professional will increase the likelihood of receptivity to contrary opinions and perspectives.  Conflict and disagreements that are cognitively presented with poise and confidence will be received best.  Even skeptics are likely to consider ideas that are presented with logic, reason and conviction.  Use of substantiated facts, relevant references, and evidence of success in other settings will help to change the minds of those who may initially be in opposition.  The inclusion of enough emotion to demonstrate assurance that it will work in the current situation may be enough to tip the scales.

Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Stephen Covey’s maxim from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People of “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood” serves as a good technique when attempting to win over someone to a new way of thinking.  If you want to be understood be a good listener.  Once the other party believes that they have been thoroughly understood they will be more receptive to listening to alternative perspectives.

Listen intently and do not get caught up in formulating a response before the other party has finished their presentation.  Use active listening and clarification questions to demonstrate interest and insight into the ideas of others.  Active listening with focused eye contact, nodding, note taking, appropriate questions and summary statements for clarification will demonstrate interest and respect in those who present opposing viewpoints and thereby increase their receptivity to alternative positions.

A good technique for presenting disagreement is to both support and confront.  This involves the use of the word “and” instead of the word “but”.  An example would be to say “I understand what you are suggesting and I have another point of view” rather than “I understand what you are suggesting but I want you to listen to my idea.”  The use of the word “but” erases everything that was presented before it and only includes the words that follow it.  Use of the word “and” shows respect and consideration for one point of view while adding other thoughts or opinions.  A difference that is presented with respect and as an alternative will be received better than one that shows distain and one-sided thinking.

Agree to Disagree

Attempt to join in agreement with the prevailing position as much as possible.  This is especially true when disagreeing with a person or group who is in a position of influence.  Artful disagreement will often include reference and support for the areas where there is agreement and then requests for considering additional perspectives.  Respectful acknowledgement that there are points in common will reduce the level of resistance to hearing new ideas.

However there will be times when presenting a disagreement will not result in the idea being accepted.  When other ideas win out it is important to support the decision and work to make it effective.  The welfare of the team or organization is more important than individual goals.  Sometimes it is best to agree to disagree and move on.


Disagreement, when demonstrated effectively, can be a valuable component of effective organizations.  The art of disagreement is often not in what is said, but how it is said.  Presenting opposing positions successfully may require courage driven by conviction and supported by data.  It is important to keep differences constructive and to work for collaborative discovery of solutions.  When presented well, disagreement opens the door to consideration of options that can result in integrated decision making and optimal outcomes.


Dale Eilerman operates Conflict Solutions Ohio, LLC working with individuals and organizations to improve performance.  He specializes in the dynamics associated with the management of differences and conflict and provides consultation, training, coaching, team-building, and conciliation work including mediation.  He is an adjunct instructor at the University of Dayton and Wright State University, provides counseling and coaching in a private practice, and is the Director of Organizational Learning for a behavioral health organization in Dayton, Ohio.  Dale earned a Masters Degree in Counseling from the University of Dayton and a Liberal Arts degree from Earlham College.  He can be contacted at 937.219.4996 or


Renewing, New Members and Additions/Corrections to the Directory (not the entire list of members—see the directory at our web site for that list): New and renewing members may send applications to Immediate Past President, Shirley Cochran at 2897 Liberty Bell Lane, Reynoldsburg OH 43068.  Contact Shirley for membership applications.  A membership application can be sent electronically for your convenience or you can download it from the OMA website If there is a correction or an addition, please let Shirley know but only you can correct the directory on the website.  If you have misplaced your membership number and password, please contact Gina Weisshaar, OMA Secretary for assistance.

New or renewed memberships since the last newsletter:

Gregory L. Edmonds
5585 Broadview Road
Columbus OH 43230 (614) 506-3782
(330) 887-4776

Eileen Pruett
375 S. High Street, 16th Floor
Columbus OH 43215 (614) 645-8500
Fax: (614) 645-8465

Paula J. Trout, MBA, MPA, JD
President/CEO ADR Forums
P.O. Box 29143
Las Vegas NV 89126-3143 (310) 251-4973/(702) 385-4973
Fax: (702) 448-5106

Hon. Steve Yarbrough, Retired
7818 Westcroft Drive
Sylvania OH 43560-1864 (419) 343-6222
Fax: (419) 824-8389

Theresa M. Zimmerman Consultants, LLC
32200 Miles Road
Solon OH 44139 (330) 328-2562
Community Mediation Services of Central Ohio and the Columbus Bar Association                          Basic Mediation Training February 3 & 4; or April 14 & 15; or June 9 & 10; or September 15 & 16; or December 1 & 2, 2010; Basic Mediation Refresher Course March 10, 2010; Personal/Professional Conflict Resolution Training April 22 or October 20, 2010; and 40 Hour Domestic Mediation Training May 5, 6, 12, 13, & 14, or November 3, 4, 9, 10 & 11, 2010.  Presenter Shelley Whalen, Executive Director of CMS and a past president of OMA.  Training site 91 Jefferson Avenue, Columbus OH, the Thurber Center CLE and CEU’s Contact CMS (614) 228-7191 or Fax: (614) 228-7213  Mailing address:  67 Jefferson Avenue, 2nd Floor, Columbus OH 43215.

Capital University Law School Center for Dispute Resolution
Center for Dispute Resolution, Capital Law School, 303 E Broad Street, Columbus OH 43215-3200, Phone (614) 236-6430/ Fax (614) 236-6956 CDR Directors include Roberta S Mitchell and Scot E Dewhirst, Co-Directors of the Center, and Terrence T Wheeler, Executive Director of the Center.  Please visit our website at to gain more detailed information on our trainings or to register on-line.

Cleveland Mediation Center
United Office Building, Suite 906 2012 West 25th Street Cleveland, Ohio 44113 2005 Presenters include Dan Joyce and Wendy Hawbaker.  For further information on all training contact: Bob Curtis, Training Co-coordinator Phone: (216) 621-1919, extension 500 Fax: (216) 621-3202 E-Mail .

North Coast Conflict Solutions and Cleveland Mediation Center
2010 Trainings.  Information about these trainings is available on the MANO website at:

The Association of Attorney-Mediators Advanced Attorney-Mediator Training and Annual Meeting, March 26 and 27, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri
Mark your calendar and plan to be with your colleagues for this outstanding Advanced Mediator Training.  We return with our member requested, two partial-day format, filled with refreshing speakers and invigorating topics. The training will begin at noon on the 26th, followed by an early evening meal and unusual activities for participants and guests, and adjourn on Saturday the 27tharound noon, allowing the afternoon for sightseeing or early travel home. The venue for the training will be the Renaissance St. Louis Grand & Suites Hotel, on popular Washington Avenue, at the discounted rate of $109 (plus tax) per night. As additional information becomes available, it will be posted on the AAM website at

American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution 11th Annual Spring Conference April 15-18, 2010 Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, New York
ADR: Building Bridges to a Better Society. Early Bird Registration ends March 10, 2009.  Conference website

AFCC 47th Annual Conference June 2-5, 2010, Sheraton Denver, Denver, Colorado
Traversing the Trail of Alienation: Rocky Relationships, Mountains of Emotion, Mile High Conflict


ACR 10th Annual Conference September 1-4, 2010 Chicago, Illinois
In 2010, ACR will celebrate its 10th Annual Conference. Over the past 10 years, we as a community have seen an evolving and growing need for high quality conflict resolution, from the international to the interpersonal level. ACR’s 10th Annual Conference provides the opportunity to step back and reflect on changes witnessed, chal¬lenges met, and prospects for the future. Our 2010 Conference is an excellent time to celebrate the essence of ACR, an organization that embraces and acknowledges the full spectrum of peaceful conflict resolution and recognizes the value of cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural connections to enhance conflict resolution choices universally. ACR em¬bodies “Many Paths: One Destination,” this year’s conference theme.  This theme celebrates the oneness, the unity, the common goal we share in reaching the One Destination: Peaceful Conflict Resolu¬tion. The theme recognizes the connections within and across our practice areas, Sections and Chapters, and the valuable partnerships created within professions such as family services, legal, health care, education, business and many others.


Ohio Mediation Association:
Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management:
Ohio State Bar Association:
Mediation Association of Northeast Ohio (MANO)